Surgical Interns Concerned About Duty-Hour Restrictions

Most feel restrictions will decrease continuity with patients, coordination of care, time spent operating

TUESDAY, June 19 (HealthDay News) -- Surgical interns have significant concerns about the impact of new Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) core competency duty-hour restrictions on the quality of their training, according to a study published in the June issue of the Archives of Surgery.

To examine the views regarding the proposed ACGME mandates, Ryan M. Antiel, M.D., of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and colleagues compared survey results from 215 surgical interns in 11 general surgery residency programs with a national sample of 134 surgery program directors.

Overall, 83.3 percent of eligible interns completed the survey. The researchers found that the majority of surgical interns felt that the new ACGME guidelines on duty-hour regulations would decrease continuity with patients, time spent operating, and the coordination of patient care (80.3, 67.4, and 57.6 percent, respectively). About half felt that these changes would reduce their ability to acquire medical knowledge and develop surgical skills and negatively impact their overall educational experience. Compared with program directors, interns were less pessimistic about the overall impact, with most (61.5 percent) believing that the changes would reduce resident fatigue and either improve or not affect other aspects of their training.

"This study provides important insights into the attitudes of the first class of surgical interns who have begun their training under the new 2011 duty-hour regulations," the authors write. "The opinions of these interns, although markedly more optimistic than those of surgical program directors, reflect a persistent concern within the surgical community regarding the effects of work-hour restrictions on surgical training."

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